About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

B is for Bobsledding

Click to enlarge photos.

How would you like to hurtle yourself down a 1200-1600 meter ice-covered incline with 15-20 turns at 160 km per hour in nothing more than a glorified garbage can?

That's exactly what bobsledders do in either two or four-man teams. Women didn't begin bobsledding until 2002 at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. They only compete in the two-person bobsledding event.

The bobsled was developed in the late 19th century when a toboggan was outfitted with runners and a steering mechanism at St. Moritz in Switzerland. The first sleds were made of wood but were soon replaced by faster steel sleds. The sport took its name from the bobbing heads of the competitors as they tried to gain speed...Walls of ice, about 18 inches high, keep the sleds from flying off the runs as the sleds approach speeds of 90 miles an hour. Runs take less than a minute and the crew feels five times the force of gravity when braking. from: http://2010games.nytimes.com/events/bobsled/index.html

This past Saturday, Canadians Lyndon Rush and Lascelles Brown won a (shared with Germany) gold medal in the World Cup in St. Moritz, even though Rush was suffering from the flu. The four-man team and the women's team didn't fare well, though. Read all about it here!

The Canadian Olympic Bobsled Team will be announced Jan. 27 at Olympic Heights School in Calgary. If you're interested in watching the bobsledding on TV during the Olympics, here's a bit of the schedule:

Two-Man Heat 4 -February 21, 5:45 PM ET
Women's Heat 4 - February 24, 9:00 PM ET
Four-Man Heat 4 - February 27, 5:15 PM ET

Personally, I think it'd be quite a "rush" to hurtle down a mountain at 160 km per hour!

Here I am up in Whistler a couple of years ago sitting in an official Olympic four-man bobsled. How they squeeze four men in there is beyond me!

To see more contributions to Round 6 of ABC Wednesday, just click here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

January Jems

Click to "biggify" the photos
I couldn't sleep last night so went on Facebook and noticed that D#2 had gone to Emergency in pain. So this morning when she called and said they were checking her for either a pulmonary embolism or gallstones, I immediately cancelled my dental appointment and rushed to her side. She doesn't look good, is very pale, and on a great deal of morphine. They'd already taken 4 vials of blood and done a chest X-ray, but while I was there, they took her down for a CT scan. A little while later, the doctor came by to inform her that he didn't have all the results yet, but that he highly suspects it's gallstones. After she got another injection of morphine, I came home to get a bite to eat (although I'm feeling rather nauseated and don't know if I can eat).

Update: Turns out she has huge gallstones and one just barely allowing bile to flow through. There is a major infection, too, so she has to stay in the hospital for 3 or 4 days to get the swelling down (gall bladder is 4X its regular size) and the infection under control. If they operate now, they'd have to open her up, but if they wait until the infection is gone, they will do the surgery the new way via a laparoscope in about a month - right at our small local hospital. In and out in one day. However, right now she's very hungry and depressed with this turn of events.

Entering the driveway, I noticed the tulips had sprouted and that there's new growth on some of the roses. So, to divert myself from my worries, I took my camera outside and snapped a few shots. The tulips are up in the front and back gardens, there is new growth on the roses in both the front and back, there are buds on the rhododendrons, the English poppies are greening up, and the heather is blooming. Also, my grandson's little wooden truck lay amidst the winter rubble of dry leaves, bricks, and weeds. For all of you who are still stuck in snow, Spring is not far away, and I think we might have to resort to fake snow on the local mountains next month. Enjoy this little taste of early Spring in in what we Vancouverites refer to as Lotusland.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A is for Athletes

It's the beginning of Round 6 of ABC Wednesday, the brainchild of Denise Nesbitt. To view other contributions, click here.

Will Canada win gold in figure skating?

The Canadian National Figure Skating Championships were held in London, Ontario this past weekend. Fortunately, I was flipping channels on Saturday and noticed it was being televised.

I managed to catch the Men's Short program and saw 19-year-old Patrick Chan give an incredible performance. I missed the long program on Sunday, but Patrick made the front cover of the Vancouver Sun newspaper this morning, so I'm very excited that he'll be representing Canada at the Olympics in less than a month. If you're interested in reading more about Patrick Chan, click on his official website here.

There has been a bit of controversy about Patrick's recent dismissal of his coach Don Laws and his change to choreographer Lori Nichol and Christy Krall from Colorado Springs, Colo. Last year, Patrick had a severe case of the flu and a calf injury which kept him from valuable training time. However, he is back and in full fighting form, ready for the 2010 Olympics.

I saw the Ladies Final on Saturday, too, and watched as 23-year-old Joannie Rochette (right) won her sixth Canadian Championship. She looked so graceful, yet athletic, as she easily beat 2nd place finisher 22-year-old Cynthia Phaneuf (below)who will join her as Canada's representatives in the Ladies' program. You can see Joannie's official website here. Joannie won the silver medal in the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships, so we're really hopeful that she will win the gold here in her home country. You can read about her skating career here on Wikipedia.

Don't count out Cynthia Phaneuf, though! She won the Junior Canadian National Championship in 2004 and has also won medals in 2005 and 2009. I absolutely loved her artistic interpretation of the music from Mission Cleopatra on Saturday, and if it hadn't been for a couple of mistakes, she might have beaten Joannie.

And of course don't forget about our Pairs champions Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison and the Ice Dancing champions Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue.
In the Vancouver Sun today it was reported that all members of our Figure Skating Team "have been on the circuit for at least two seasons and the medal collection is impressive. Between the bunch of them, they have also won five world championship medals."
So keep your eyes on Canada for winning some medals in Figure Skating.

This is the sport that I will be watching next month as I became interested in it years and years ago when I learned how to skate. Although I never had any pretensions of becoming famous in this area, one of my daughters did compete up to a certain level until we discovered her feet were a bit crooked. And that was that. *sigh*

Sunday, January 17, 2010

WATOTO mean "Children" in Swahili

It's been a while since I've attended church, but this morning I took my daughter, grandson and granddaughter to see the Watoto African Children's Choir. To the right is a photo of one of the choirs with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper. If you've never heard of them, let me tell you that theirs is quite a story. Read on from Wikipedia.
The Watoto Children's Choir is an African choir that is dedicated to improving the way of life for children in Africa. The choir is based in Kampala, Uganda, at Kampala Pentecostal Church (KPC) dubbed " Home of Watoto"composed of about twenty children, mainly from Uganda.
At any one time, there are several choirs touring all over the world ministering God's love to the nations.
Watoto means "Children" in Swahili language, and is made up of children who have lost both or one parent to the AIDS epidemic.[1] The Choir has toured Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia with a team of adults.
Their performances are a unique blend of native African rhythms, contemporary gospel music and ethnic dance. They have released four CDs. The ministry also comprises three villages, a primary school and a high school.
The vision behind Watoto is "Raising the next generation of Ugandan leaders."
Watoto is a response to the cry of the orphaned and vulnerable children of Africa, whose lives have been ravaged by war and disease.
Click HERE to read the Watoto Choir's Blog and to see recent photos of the choirs currently performing in Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, the Isle of Wight, various places in England, and Hong Kong.
It's always a humbling experience to watch these children perform with such energy, charisma, and faith! If you've never seen these children, check your local church listings or go to www.watoto.com for more information.
Maybe some of you remember their appearance on American Idol in 2007. Here's a 2-minute video of their performance on that night.

I can just imagine Grandson and Granddaughter dancing around their house to the beat of the Watoto African Children's Choir. Even though they probably don't understand the story behind these children, I hope the choir's spirit will stay with them for a while.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Z is for Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah

When D#2 was a baby, I used to change her diapers on the long bathroom countertop. One memory I have is singing this song to her as I zipped up her one-piece jammies. To this day, she remembers me doing it, even though she was only about 18 months old. Just goes to show how a baby's mind takes things in, especially extremely pleasant experiences.

How does this fit into my theme for this round (my new life with Lorne)? Well, she has been a real trouper in accepting the fact that I've moved on with my life and she's happy that I'm happy. She's developing a very good relationship with Lorne and respects our relationship. So here's to a wonderful daughter and our memories of "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah."

May all our lives be filled with zip-a-dee-doo-dah moments!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Vancouver's Olympic Fever

I went downtown today with D#2 to the Vancouver Wedding Fair via the Canada Line (rapid transit) and bus so took the opportunity of snapping a few shots of the city in the midst of preparation. Everywhere you look you'll see advertising, a giant Canada flag attached to two sides of a building, new directional signs, (huge ones!) roadwork going on, and the traffic authority. Excitement is building! Only 34 days to go and the world is coming to Vancouver. I hope you enjoy these photos that give you a taste of what's going on. Be sure to click on the photos to see them in a larger format.

On the left is the Canada Flag and on the right is some kind of silver sculpture right on the sidewalk when you exit from the rapid transit station downtown. Any guesses as to what it is? To us, it looked like a giant crumpled up ball of tin foil.

If anyone wants to read about the Hudson Bay Company's history and importance to Canadian history, click here. It is the oldest commercial corporation in North America, by the way. The original HBC store in Vancouver was a small storefront on Cordova between Carrall and Abbott, but this cream terra cotta building, at the corner of Granville and Georgia Streets, with its Corinthian columns was built in 1927. Plus, it's the #1 department store in Canada and is the official provider of all the official Olympic fashions and other doodads related to the Games.

Here we have the official countdown clock and when I took this photo today (in the pouring rain) there were 34 days, 3 hours, 21 minutes and 53 seconds to the official opening of the Olympics. On the right you'll see advertising for some of the official Canadian Olympic fashions on the side of a bus.

And down in the Canada Line waiting area, you'll see gigantic posters advertising General Electric and its MRI development. These posters are fascinating because they show bodies of people participating in just about every sport. You see inside the bodies, their skeletal structure and some organs. These are just two - a figure skater and a snowboarder.

There are going to be concerts and festivities all over the Vancouver area for 17 days and nights. I thought I'd avoid the major areas, but after today, I just might go on downtown between Feb. 12 and 28th to mingle with the tourists. I'm having an Opening Ceremonies party at home for my friends and I'm going to wear one of Lorne's Canada Hockey Team jerseys in honour of my country. I don't know about any of you, but I get all choked up when I watch Canada enter the stadium at any Olympic games, so you can imagine there'll be tears running down my face that night because as a Canadian, I know we've got it good here.

Friday, January 08, 2010

I Love My Job

I love my job! How many people do you know who can actually say that and really mean it?
I've never been a "morning person" and when I was teaching full time, it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed every morning around 6:30 to get to school no later than 8:15. Coffee in hand, I'd stumble into the elevator (I couldn't climb stairs then because of my bad back) and wend my way to my classroom.
Open the blinds.
Suck on my coffee.
Reread my daybook.
Suck on my coffee.
Write the agenda on the whiteboard.
Suck on my coffee.
Gaze out the window at the kids playing or waiting for the bell to ring.
Suck on my coffee.
And away we'd go.
By 3:00 in the afternoon, I was exhausted and could hardly wait until all the kids were gone and silence reigned once again.
I'd work until 5:00 or 6:00, depending on the time of year, before packing it in and heading home.
Dinner would usually be some sort of microwaved gourmet delight before I fell into a heap on the sofa to veg out watching TV until I thought I could make it up the stairs to my bed.
And again the next day.
But now!
Sleep until I wake up - shower and get dressed before joining Regis & Kelly or the gals on The View for breakfast. After that comes the daily newspaper. I hunker down with my coffee or tea to do all the word puzzles while the laundry does itself.
Oh gee! Is it noon already?
Hmm...what shall I do today? Go for a walk? Do the grocery shopping? Have lunch with a friend? Do a bit of gardening? Read a book? (ooh! that's my favourite, especially since it's not a textbook!)
At 3:00 pm, I gather myself together for my "busy" work day. Students begin to arrive any time after 3:15 and they're all gone by 6:30 at the latest. And they're all such great kids! Four days a week is like that but Fridays are all mine! All day!
I can actually stay up until 11:00 pm these days and sometimes even later!
What a wonderful life!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Y is for Yellow

There was just no other word for me on today's ABC Wednesday meme but yellow. It's been so utterly dark and gloomy that the only way I could be cheered up was by looking through my garden photos from last spring and summer! The yellow flowers can only make me smile - two roses and two daisies.

Next up, we have lemon trees in someone's garden in a little town in Italy (left) and sunset over the Fraser River last winter when we had all that snowfall.

Well, these photos cheered me up quite a bit. Hope they took away some of the gloominess of your wintry day as well.

Now what would really cheer me up is if I somehow received the gift or a yacht or even a small yawl - painted yellow, of course. This one would do me just fine!

And if you're wondering how this post ties in with my theme for this round, here it is. Lorne planted and cared for the roses and daisies this summer. Also, he helped me set up the shot of the sunset over the ice last December ('08) and he used to have a yellow sailboat named Daisy.

ABC Wednesday is hosted by Denise Nesbitt and you can see other contributions simply by clicking HERE.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Attitude Adjustment for a Gloomy Day

Today is the first day back at school. It's dark, gloomy, and pouring rain. Depressing. I wanted to do a post about rain, but thought I'd already done one at some point in time. Upon checking, I came upon this one that I'd posted November 1, 2008. It's certainly worth sharing again as it made me rethink my attitude about how depressing the day appears right now.

It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80's arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry.

The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease.

As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late.

He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.

I was surprised, and asked him, 'And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?'

He smiled as he patted my hand and said, 'She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is.'

I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, 'That is the kind of love I want in my life.'

True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Back to Reality

I partied hearty last night and slept in this morning. Lorne took me out for lunch since we hadn't really seen each other since Wednesday night. Then we rented "District 9," which I wasn't sure I'd like. However, I highly recommend it! Be prepared for some upsetting moments in it, though. I wished my grandson a Happy 6th Birthday but won't get to see him until next weekend as his Mommy is sick. She finally succumbed to that nasty flu bug that was going around, so we'll have to postpone a visit. Daughter #2 called to tell me she had a great New Year's Eve and asked how mine was.
A friend called to catch up - she'd emailed me on Monday to let me know her father had passed away on Boxing Day (Dec. 26th) - and she said she was doing okay now, except as the eldest child she's doing the paper work. She's going to come over Monday for dinner and a visit. I must say that I avoided the shops on Boxing Day because it was mayhem as usual with all the sales.
I still have to undecorate the tree and put away the ornaments, but that won't take long. I'll do it tomorrow so Lorne can drag the boxed-up tree into the shed and carry the boxes full of decorations to the storage room.
So life goes on into the year 2010...it will be a busy year and the time will fly by. The Olympics start in 42 days so I'm going to plan an "Opening Ceremonies" party complete with Canada Flag topped cake. The Olympics is the first of two major events in our lives this year. Can you guess the other event? LOL
Tuesday I'll be back at work tutoring. I miss my students as we have really good relationships and I think they enjoy coming over just as much as I enjoy having them here.
I vow to try to get more exercise this year as I'm tired of being sloth-like. And Lorne's good cooking has added a few pounds back. Gotta fit into "the dress" and look good for our special day.

Oh yes, my Meez picture (top right) is in honour of the Canadian hockey team as the roster was announced on Wednesday. GO TEAM CANADA! (click to see the article)

Happy 2010, everyone! Keep an eye on Vancouver and news of the Olympics.